The festive season has been left well behind with nothing but weight gain to remind us of guilt free indulgences and merry-making made without thought of consequence… While there is some merit in keeping the beginning of the year ‘dry’ and devoid of fun times (unless you actually like going to the gym), for some of us the New Year is a time to embrace life, food and frivolity with all the vigour we welcomed it with in December. Warning – keep your gym contract going and the milk thistle close at hand.
That said, in the spirit of fun, LOAP invites you to up the ante with our anti-detox Retox Guide to the capital, our first stop being Shoreditch’s new fave eating destination by Pablo Flack and David Waddington of Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s. A decidedly cool Winter warmer called Hoi Polloi.
Hoi Polloi – noun – The common people; the many; the masses (often preceded by the). Despite the name and deceptive grass roots level appeal it conveys, commoners need not apply when it comes to this smart/casual/modernist Japanese/classic Art deco/canteen/brasserie/hotel restaurant and bar. Yes, Hoi Polloi is many things but all of them are good. Wood cladding, leather booths and a natural palette punctuated with stark black accents and flecked tabletops make for a clean yet inviting feel, with low (kick-ass) music and attentive staff adding to the relaxed luxury.
The menu is a recycled newspaper with an article on the back, a little info on local happenings inside and a typographical cover, with the same brand of minimalism found throughout the restaurant in the form of geometric motifs on crockery, stationery, etc. It’s a major plus that this place is cool without subscribing to the ‘shout-over- the-tunes’ noise levels that are normally utilised to confuse us into thinking our environment is more bumping than it really is. Brunch is not the time to have a shouty a conversation and I’m glad they’ve caught onto that.
The strict geometry of the hanging wire pendant lighting, linear wall lamps, and classroom layout don’t make you feel like you’re in a Scandinavian lecture hall thanks to a soft, warm illumination that would make the most severe features a little more tender. Attached to the equally cool and aspirational Ace Hotel, this is one of the best places to have one too many before staggering up to your room – and with a delightfully wild and fragrant Hattie Fox’s That Flower Shop as its entrance, Hoi Polloi is visually interesting from the front door.
Your weekend brunch can be as hoity toity or hoi polloi as you wish it to be so whether you’d like to start with a Ruby Breakfast Fizz – beetroot and horseradish relish, Campari and Prosecco – or a trusty Bloody Mary (no need to list ingredients here), you’re in luck. As we’re celebrating indulgence in this series, I won’t go on about the fresh juices or the granola with yoghurt and rhubarb.
Go straight to the naughtily-named ‘Hot Stuff’ section where you’ll find Ricotta pancakes with shaved fennel and smoked salmon and the Eggy bread with berries and mascarpone (technically perfect). The Kedgeree, a flaked fish dish with rice, egg, a spicy kick, butter and cream is a more off-beat choice but there’s always steadfasts like Eggs Benedict or traditional fayre like Potato farls, black pudding and fried egg, or a good ol’ Hoi Polloi Hamburger with dripping chips.
100 Shoreditch High St
Tel. 020 8880 6100
Open Monday to Sunday
Breakfast 7-11am / Afternoon tea 3-6pm / Brunch and Lunch 11am-6pm / Dinner 8-11pm
Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on our Retox Guide here and on our Facebook page!
Download the London on a plate app on iTunes for a curated collection of where to eat in all four corners of the capital…Ssssh it’s free!